Even as its parent organization disintegrates, the IPA-New York hopes not only to survive, but to thrive. “On a personal level, I am very sorry that the organization in San Francisco is closing,” says Tomaz Deptula, a business editor with Nowy Dziennik (Polish Daily News) and an IPA-NY steering committee member. “But on the other side of the country we are continuing what we have been doing in New York, and the hope is that we will emerge stronger from all of this.”
IPA-NY runs an advertising co-op and provides technical assistance for dozens of local ethnic and community papers, publishes “Voices That Must Be Heard,” a weekly online newsletter that features the best work of its member papers, sponsors the “Ippie” community journalism awards and runs the Campus Journalism Project and the George Washington Williams Fellowship, which helps journalists of color thrive in the magazine field. Some or all of these programs are expected to continue without interruption.
“The model we’ve developed here is very community rooted,” says IPA-NY Executive Director Juana Ponce de Leon “We’re very close to our members, we can communicate with them easily, we can gather them together very easily. That was a lot different from the way it worked in San Francisco.”
Nevertheless, even as the IPA-NY confidently predicts success, there’s little denying that the national IPA’s failure has come as something of a shock. “The fact that they were closing took us completely by surprise,” says Deptula. “We were not informed about that until about ten days ago.” Ponce de Leon speaks of additional “delicate legal negotiations” that need to be carried out with the IPA national office.
Further questions surround the nature of the future relationship between the IPA-NY and New American Media, a nationwide association of over 700 ethnic media organizations. Ponce de Leon will only confirm that “New American Media has expressed a strong interest in making sure that the important work of the IPA in NY continues.”